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Fri, 30 Jul 2021
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Phoenix

Forest fire spreading on Rhodes

Firefighters are trying to extinguish a big forest fire raging on the Greek holiday island of Rhodes, while a blaze north of Athens has been contained.

Water-bombing aircraft are tackling the blaze on Rhodes, which has burnt at least 1,000 hectares of forest. It has not reached any tourist resorts.

France and Italy have sent planes to central Rhodes to help fight the fire, the French news agency AFP reports.

Bug

US: Tarantulas, fire ants lurk in Texas floodwaters

South Texans eager to salvage what they can from waterlogged homes struck by Hurricane Dolly have another problem: The floodwaters they're slogging through are laced with stinging fire ants, snakes and even deadly tarantulas.

"You don't want to wade in this water," state Health Services Commissioner David Lakey said during a visit to the Rio Grande Valley Friday. "You don't want to play in this water. You want to stay out of this water."

It was timely advice, but residents in many neighborhoods with waist-deep water had little choice as they sifted through the mess left by the Category 2 storm that hit the eastern Texas and Mexico coasts Wednesday. In eastern Hidalgo County, as much as 12 inches of rain fell in six hours, turning neighborhoods into coffee-colored lakes.

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©AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo
A man wades through a flooded street after Hurricane Dolly hit the area in Matamoros, Mexico, Thursday, July 24, 2008. Officials said no deaths were reported in Mexico from Dolly, which struck land just north of the border in Texas Wednesday. It ripped off roofs, flooded roads and downed power lines, but the Rio Grande levees held strong.

Cloud Lightning

Powerful New Hampshire storm leaves death, devastation

EPSOM, N.H. - A violent thunderstorm with tornado-like winds tore through New Hampshire yesterday, killing one person in a collapsed house and causing heavy damage in its 21-mile path through 11 small towns in the center of the state.

Bizarro Earth

Rising energy, food prices major threats to wetlands as farmers eye new areas for crops

700 leading experts meeting in Brazil urge policy makers to resist pressure to convert wetlands.

Critical food shortages and growing demand for bio-fuels and hydro-electricity due to high fossil fuel prices rank among the greatest threats today to the preservation of precious wetlands worldwide as farmers and developers look for new areas for agriculture, energy crop plantations and hydro dams.

However, resisting pressures to convert wetlands is vital to avoid destroying ecosystems that provide a suite of services essential to humanity, including safe, steady local water supplies, preserving biodiversity and the large-scale capture and storage of climate warming greenhouse gases, according 700 leading world experts concluding a week-long meeting in Cuiaba, Brazil.

Snowman

Global Cooling: Extreme water restrictions 'gone for good' in Queensland

Australia - Southeast Queenslanders have been promised they will never again face the extreme water restrictions they have endured through the long drought.

Deputy Premier Paul Lucas said today that while "we can't control the rainfall...we can certainly make sure we will never face extreme level water restrictions again".

Global Cooling
©Courier Mail
Snow business ... Nat Burton, of the Bella Rosa Tea Rooms at Thulimbah, near Stanthorpe, rugged up yesterday.

Attention

How a tiny bug is ravaging Colorado's forests



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©Ed Andrieski / AP (left); Jen Chase / Colorado State Forest Service-AP
Tiny Pest, Big Damage: About the size of a grain of rice, the mountain pine beetle (left) is destroying great swaths of pine trees in Colorado (reddish brown areas at right)

Summer at Colorado's Beaver Creek Resort is usually a time of hot days, cool nights, verdant views and the peaceful sound of the Rocky Mountains. Not this year. The area's idyllic silence is being disturbed by the sound of chainsaws cutting down large swaths of dead or dying trees in this gated community. "We have no illusions, no choice," says Tony O'Rourke, executive director of Beaver Creek's Home Owners Association. "We can't stem the tide." O'Rourke's dire tone comes from the resort's lost battle with a bug--the mountain pine beetle--that is destroying much of Beaver Creek's lush green vistas and reducing them to barren brown patches.

After ravaging 22 million acres of pine trees in Canada over the last 12 years, the rice-sized insects have been feasting their way southward. Their favorite meal: the majestic lodgepole pine, which makes up 8 percent of Colorado's 22 million acres of forests. Before landing in Beaver Creek, the pine beetles tore through neighboring Vail, Winter Park, Breckenridge and several areas around Steamboat Springs. So far, say state foresters, the beetles have eaten through 1.5 million acres, about 70 percent of the all the state's lodgepole pines. The tree's entire population will be wiped out in the next few years, Colorado state foresters predict, leaving behind a deforested area about the size of Rhode Island.

Info

Unknown disease killing off Florida's state tree



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©Wilfredo Lee/AP
The sabal palm, Florida's state tree, is under attack by a microscopic killer that has scientists mystified.

MIAMI - The sabal palm, Florida's state tree, is under attack by a microscopic killer that has scientists stumped.

An unknown but growing number of sabal palms in the Tampa Bay area have died from a mysterious disease that researchers are struggling to identify. Even after scientists pinpoint the disease - and that could take years - they will have to learn what insect spreads it. The disease will be tough to stop.

"It's not simply a matter that we will be able to eradicate," said Monica Elliott, a University of Florida plant pathologist. "That's not very likely."

Attention

Bear mauls girl during mountain bike race

Anchorage, AK - A 14-year-old girl riding in a mountain bike race was attacked in the dark of night by a bear Sunday and severely injured, but she was able to make a brief 911 call that eventually resulted in her rescue.

The girl suffered head, neck, torso and leg wounds. She underwent surgery and was in critical condition Sunday afternoon at Providence Alaska Medical Center, police said.

Attention

Grizzly bear attacks woman in Alaska

Anchorage - A 21-year-old woman was attacked by a grizzly bear about 25 yards from an Alaskan lodge.

Abby Sisk, of Utah, was attacked late Wednesday as she returned from a hike to the Kenai Princess Lodge in Cooper Landing.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said a guest at the lodge saw the bear on top of Sisk, a seasonal worker, and ran outside to help. Ipsen says the guest scared the bear off.

Target

Powerful aftershocks hit China quake area, 1 dead

BEIJING - At least three powerful aftershocks hit southwest China's quake area on Thursday, killing one elderly person and injuring more than a dozen, the official Xinhua news agency said.